Fact Check

Welfare Prenuptial

Rumor: A Facebook user asked whether she could get a prenuptial agreement to protect her welfare benefits.

Published Mar 10, 2015

Claim:


Claim:   A Facebook user asked whether she could get a prenuptial agreement to protect her welfare benefits.


LEGEND


Example:   [Collected via Facebook, March 2015]


This is one the reasons why I am for Welfare Reform!! This is what someone posted on a fb group.

Anonymous: Look I've been on the list for section 8 every since I was 18 when I had my 2nd child and now Welfare is paying for me to take a medical assistant class. My foodstamps is about 876$ a month, my cash aid is 756 now my dude see me doin hecka good just axed me to merry him?? Do any of y'all know how I get a prenup? Cause If this don't work out I don't wanna have to split my section8 and other benefits I've worked hard for.



 

Origins:   In late 2014, the above-displayed image of a Facebook user's inquiring about the possibility of entering into a prenuptial agreement to protect her public assistance benefits was posted both to Reddit and a popular Facebook page. The Reddit user who posted it in October 2014 claimed that the woman to whom the quote was attributed was an acquaintance of his girlfriend's; and in response to claims that the inquiry was just a joke, the user replied: "I wish, unfortunately my girlfriend knows this 'welfare queen.'" (The Facebook user who shared the image made no such claims and simply posted it without comment.)

While both posts contributed to the subsequent circulation of the image, the Reddit version appeared first. Despite the poster's claim of a personal connection to the subject, the same information had been put up on Instagram a year earlier:

That Instagram image was captured from a different popular Facebook humor page, but the image wasn't dated: At some point the identifying profile photograph, page name, and "fan mail" portion of the status were covered over, obscuring the image's origins on a humor and meme-centric page and enabling its presentation as a "true story" coming from a friend of a friend.

The same meme was also published on a humor site in December 2012 with language identical to the original (unedited) Facebook posting. That version even included the "fan mail" opener commonly used by the page to which it was shared on Facebook:

While the question genuinely might have been asked (by some person at some point somewhere on the Internet), it's equally probable that the meme was fabricated to mock recipients of public assistance or submitted to the Facebook page by a user trolling its admins. To that end, phonetic spellings of words such as "axed" (instead of "asked") don't reflect common patterns of speech versus writing: While the word is sometimes pronounced that way, it's rarely spelled in such a manner even among those predisposed to that pronunciation.

Last updated:   11 March 2015

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.

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